MMA legend Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto is dead at age 41. The Japanese fighter passed away earlier today in a Guam hospital after a battle with cancer.
Yamamoto revealed a few weeks ago that he was diagnosed with cancer, but gave very little other info. He last competed in MMA at UFC 184 in February 2015.
Kid was a superstar in his native land, and was a true pioneer of the lighter weight classes (he fought mostly at featherweight and bantamweight). He was also an elite-level wrestler, even trying out for the 2008 Olympic team before an injury cut his journey short of its goal.
Unfortunately during Yamamoto’s prime years (about 2001-07) the UFC didn’t offer his weight classes, so North American fans were mostly denied seeing him in his prime. When he did finally reach the UFC in 2011, he failed to earn a win in four octagon appearances (three losses and one no contest).
He is survived by two sons and a daughter.